Specificity of the Speed's test: arthroscopic technique for evaluating the biceps tendon at the level of the bicipital groove

Arthroscopy. 1998 Nov-Dec;14(8):789-96. doi: 10.1016/s0749-8063(98)70012-x.


A positive Speed's test result is usually thought to suggest inflammation or lesions related to the biceps/labral complex. The specificity, sensitivity, and positive and negative predictive values are determined for the Speed's test. A prospective study design was developed for all patients with shoulder pain who presented between October 1, 1994 and February 28, 1995. The clinical results of the Speed's test were correlated with biceps/labral pathology by direct arthroscopic visualization. A neuroprobe is used to pull the biceps tendon into the articular portion of the glenohumeral joint so as to visualize the biceps tendon at the level of the bicipital groove. Forty-six shoulders in 45 patients, 31 men (average age, 53 years; range, 16 to 76 years) and 14 women (average age, 64 years; range, 30 to 80 years) with 26 dominant and 20 nondominant extremities were operated on during this time interval. The clinical evaluation showed that the speed's test was positive in 40 shoulders. Biceps/labral complex pathology was present in 10 of these patients. A specificity of 13.8%, a sensitivity of 90%, a positive predictive value of 23%, and a negative predictive value of 83% were calculated. Thus, it is concluded that the Speed's test is a nonspecific but sensitive test for macroscopic biceps/labral pathology. This clinical examination is positive with a various number of other pathological shoulder problems.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthroscopy
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / diagnosis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Shoulder Injuries*
  • Shoulder Pain / diagnosis*
  • Tendon Injuries / diagnosis*